Re: Re: ceiling heights + heating
From: Cher Stuewe Portnoff (
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006 08:23:52 -0800 (PST)
Rocky Mountain Institute = Hunter Lovins and Amory Lovins, trailblazing energy efficiency for decades :-).

Future Cohousing Resident

----- Original Message ----- From: "Tom Hammer" <thammer302 [at]>
To: <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2006 9:20 AM
Subject: RE: [C-L]_ Re: ceiling heights + heating

I hope that those reading this list are familiar with the Rocky Mountain Institute regarding home design, energy use, (and also ceiling heights.)

There have been two fascinating articles recently, one in Scientific American, on sustainability and energy use, and the other in Discover, on heating homes efficiently. Both were by the leader of the Institute, whose name escapes me. Both articles were within the last year and can easily be found on the Web.

The author writes about his home in the mountains of CO, where it can get to 20 below, and there is no expensive infrastructure for heating or cooling in the home. The author says the home is passive solar and highly insulated, and he can heat the home in the winter with the energy from a 50 watt light bulb because the heat gain from the sun minus heat loss is so small. I am sure that high/low ceilings and cathedral ceilings are addressed in the design concepts.

As for 8' lengths being standard and economical, I spent a year renovating a farmhouse while living in community, and we had no trouble buying 2 x 4 studs in 8, 10, or 12 foot lengths. The longer lengths were more expensive, of course, but only proportionate to their length.

 Tom Hammer
 Concord Village

Message: 2
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2006 10:20:34 -0800
From: "Prescott Nichols"

Subject: RE: [C-L]_ Re: ceiling heights
To: "'Cohousing-L'"
Message-ID: <002c01c62b4a$09195ff0$93f096a8@brahma>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

James makes a good point about the economy of 8'-high ceilings. Everything
in the residential construction trade fits that by default.

I would hesitate to equate higher ceilings with SUVs and McMansions,
however. A 10-foot ceiling permits transom windows which will bring daylight
deeper into the room than lower windows. Make those transoms operable and
now you can take advantage of the height to "stack ventilate" the high warm air from the building at night. These qualities increase the livability and
energy efficiency of the home.

Small rooms do fine with 8-foot ceilings, and can even seem distorted with
anything higher, but a typical cohousing living & dining space will benefit from higher ceilings. That said, if heat loss, not cooling, is your biggest concern, then the lower ceilings might make more sense for the bigger rooms,


-----Original Message-----
From: James Kacki [mailto:jimkacki [at]]
Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2006 3:08 PM
To: jenny [at]; Cohousing-L
Subject: [C-L]_ Re: ceiling heights

Jenny, -8' is very standard. Building materials come in 8' lengths
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